The Introduction

Is the gospel of God and the word of God relevant to our culture today?

As the tides of history continuously move on, the world will come up with a set of questions that they think are original. But the why and the heart of those questions are all the same. We have questions on same-sex attraction and those who say, “there is nothing wrong with it” would point out that the Bible never mentions “homosexuality” and “those passages in Leviticus, the Gospels, and Romans are all outdated and don’t mean what you think they mean.” But are we talking about same-sex attraction? Are we actually talking about what is really our identity.

The world keeps giving us piles of crap and continuously preaching to us, “Try this–this will make you happy” when Christ has already offer the solution, “Trust me and I will be your identity.”

If we believe and trust and obey the Son of God who is God, we are now a new creation. See, the old ways has passed.

And as you might expected, if you are a new creature with a new identity, you get to live a new way.

What I love about these pastoral letters by Paul is he exhorts us to live a life that is literally holy–that is, set apart from what the norm or the everyday to live a new live in a new way every day.

Let us examine the text.

The Text

2 Timothy 2:3–14 (CSB)
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer.

5 Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

6 The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.

7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and descended from David, according to my gospel,

9 for which I suffer to the point of being bound like a criminal. But the word of God is not bound.

10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him;

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;

13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to fight about words. This is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen.

The Meditation

We are to live differently but maybe not in the way you think. There is nothing in the Bible that calls us to believe in God and everything on this earth is easy street or somehow we can bend the will of God to our desires or we will be in complete control so that nobody can ever hurt us again. None of that.

Consider these three ways

Life by Christ: You are a soldier

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer.

There will be some fighting. Ephesians 6 makes that abundantly clear:

Ephesians 6:10-12 (CSB) Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.

There will be some suffering. Christ suffered and therefore we are going to suffer. The Bible and especially Romans 8 calls that out:

Romans 8:16-18 (CSB) The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.

In so many ways, the Christian life is much like the military life in the United States. In many countries, like South Korea, 18 year old males are obligated to join the military and serve. In the US, we are a volunteer force. Christ has commanded you to come and follow him–but he is also commanded you to count the cost of following him.

You are going to lose your life. Come and follow him. You will have to give up all of your sins–even the ones that other people say there is nothing wrong with it. Come and follow him. You will have to obey God and be led by the Spirit. Come and follow him.

Once you are in this new life, you don’t have to mess with the worldly life. That is civilian life. That is not your concern. Your utmost concern is your commanding officer–who so happens to be the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You get to lay down the sin of pleasing others and pick up the cross of pleasing our great King.

For some of us, I bet, that felt like the greatest relief in the world. Take that. That belongs to you. That is the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Life by Christ: You are an athlete

5 Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

Are we to run the race well? Yes.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (CSB) Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Are we fight the good fight? Yes.

1 Timothy 6:12 (CSB) Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Are we to train spiritually? Yes.

Hebrews 5:13-14 (CSB) Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil.

But what God is calling all Christians to do is obey His Son. There is no easy believism. There is no one time raise your hand, say a sinners prayer but the rest of your life is not change at all.

Let me explain it like this:

Life by Christ: You are a farmer

6 The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.

Matthew 7:15-20 (CSB) “Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. 16 You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.

If you belong to Christ, you will start producing good fruit. That “be the first to get a share of the crops?” That means the fruit you produce starts with you and in your life. And it starts with repentance of sin–confessing your sins and do away with that sinful life. Do you have grace to stumble and fall and get up and keep going? Yes. Do you have grace to keep sinning? No!

Know the difference. If you want to come up and ask a bunch of questions about your sin, let us start with your heart. Do you really want to give up your sin? You might tell me, “Sure I do!” But I am nobody. What would God say?

Repentance is a gift from God. If you call yourself a Christian but you keep going back to your sin and not confessing and not really wanting to change your mind about your sin, you might consider yourself not saved to God. If that that is where you are at honestly, that is the best place to start versus continuing to lie to yourself and to others.

The Gospel

Life by Christ: You are not your own

7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

If you are in Christ, you are not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:16-20 (CSB) Don’t you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For Scripture says, The two will become one flesh. 17 But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.

18 Flee sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. 19 Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.

You were bought with a price.

But you know what comes with that price?

You are not on your own.

My friends, if you are in Christ, Christ is in you. If you believe the Holy One of God, the Father dwells in you. If you trust in the Son of God, the same Spirit that raise Christ Jesus from the dead dwells in you.

You don’t have to figure stuff out on your own. You don’t have to figure out how to live this new life on your own. The Creator of Heaven and Earth dwells within you.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead and descended from David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer to the point of being bound like a criminal. But the word of God is not bound.

Life by Christ: you have the word of God

So many people wish that God spoke to them. But he does–it starts with the Bible. Do you read his word? “Well, I am not strong reader.” Get it the word read via streaming or mp3s or CDs.

I just removed all the excuses. Go and hear God. It starts with his word.

Surely, he could use a donkey to speak to you. But he took a countless generations from eternity to eternity just to speak to you. Read the word. You will start to hear God I promise you.

10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Life by Christ: you are commissioned by God

To lest you have any doubt:

Matthew 28:18-20 (CSB) Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 16:15-16 (CSB) Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Luke 24:46-49 (CSB) He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, 47 and repentance for forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high.”

Acts 1:6-8 (CSB) So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

In other words, it’s not what you have to do but what you get to do. You get to proclaim the good news to everyone everywhere and everything.

But I am not a preacher or an evangelist. But the Triune God is with you. And it is both telling the good news and loving one another. You get to do both because you are a new creature in Christ.

11 This saying is trustworthy: For if we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

Life by Christ: you are made truly alive by God

You have two ways in this life.

Your way which will absolutely lead to death.

Or obey when Christ says, “Come follow me. Take up your cross and follow me. Give me your burden and your sin and let me provide you rest for your weary soul.” Christ alone is the relief and peace for the burdened and crushed. Let him take those heart breaking sins–He is the Almighty God! He has all the strength. You and I are weak. But he will give you what you can bare–his perfect righteousness.

Compare the two. There is only way to live–in Christ alone.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to fight about words. This is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen.

Life by Christ: share the good news with one another

Here’s some shocking news: hearing the gospel once a week is not enough. Tell your wife, husband, friends, kids, neighbors, co-workers about Christ and his forgiveness in sins. Tell each other all day every day. Don’t waste your words saying useless words that lead to ruin–this goes doubly so on social media where your words will last forever. Think about that.

Let me pray us out.

The Prayer

My Saving God
 
I believe and trust in you. Make me alive in you today.

Amen.

Media

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